Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Fountain

Had a chance to see The Fountain. I am so sorry that I did. The movie sucked so bad I was a little surprised I didn't fall asleep during the movie. I could have used the sleep. The only thing I am grateful for is that I caught an early showing meaning I didn't pay full price. The movie was so disjointed that when the ending came, I found myself sitting there in stunned silence waiting for more. The ending was totally unsatisfying and didn't seem to wrap up anything from the movie. I feel that I could have written something better than the drivel that was presented. And probably somewhere is a studio exec selling the movie as very artistic and well done, a story of love through the ages and how aging changes everything and nothing, or some crap like that. I later found out that the critics panned the movie. I don't normally take stock in what critics say as they are likely to find some deep meaning in the film and claim it was artistically rendered. There is almost a guarantee that if the critic didn't like the movie then it must have been good. I may have to start at least skimming a few reviews to at least make sure I am seeing something worth seeing. I have joined a movie meetup down here and at least I will have company during the bombs.


A busy Thanksgiving break

I had such big plans for this break. I was going to get away and do some serious backpacking. Even though I had not finished settling into the new place I knew where all the backpacking gear was located (ie all the important things have been found). While about a third of the apartment is still buried under boxes, I was going to leave it all for a few days. Instead, all that got thrown into the wind. Where to start.

For those of you who don't know, November is National Novel Writing Month. On a whim I decided to participate. It really was a whim, I was staying at a sublet and had nothing better to do so why not write. I didn't really think anything would come of it. The goal is to write at least 50,000 words over 30 days. Easy huh? Well, to make things a little more difficult, I was moving over part of that time and trying to unpack. I think what ended up happening was that I used NanoWriMo to procrastinate on the unpacking. I normally can unpack quite quickly but because I have a slightly smaller place and was easily becoming buried under all the paper they wrapped everything in, the writing was a way to escape. I didn't think I would actually make 50,000 words but when the first 20,000 flew by I started to really believe I could do it. After the 35,000 word mark though I was really struggling. One of my story arcs was getting harder to write which lead me to start procrastinating on the writing by getting back to the unpacking. In fact, on Black Friday, I went out to the large Asian market, Super H Mart and bought some much needed food and on a slight whim, a rice cooker. Yes my priorities are in line, I opted to get a rice cooker over a microwave. I had 20,000 words to do over the four day weekend, 5,000 words each day. Did I make it, you bet. And boy are my wrists hurting. I also didn't run out of story, but the arc that I was having trouble with turned into pure drivel at one point. I kept writing that drivel simply to get past that point to the more interesting part of the story. I did write this in chronological order as I found I didn't have the heart to skip around. Now that I am at the 50,000 word mark, I think I will try to keep it going. There is still story left so I might as well get the rest of it out now while I have spent much of the last 25 days writing. I have also spent the last 3 days enjoying really good rice and stirfrys. I have got to get away from all this junk I keep finding myself eating. I know, if I don't buy it I can't eat it. I will have to start heeding that. And since the oven doesn't work, not sure when they will give me a working one, I won't be baking myself any sweets either.

I picked up two nice new pots to put my poor Norfolk pines in. I had to divide them as I couldn't find a nice pot big enough for all of them and I didn't feel like shopping around. Seems there is nothing in DC, you have to travel out to Virginia or Maryland to get to the Targets, Best Buys or the Walmarts. On a good note the pines seem to be doing well, so far. It was a little pathetic, I was trying to piece together the moss layer after I transplanted them. I hope it takes.

I also went in to the DMV on Friday as it was open. I contested a parking ticket. It was a little unnerving. I had to swear under oath and state my name for the record and all that good stuff. In the end I denied the ticket and told them I had just moved and hadn't received my plates yet. He wrote my ticket off as a warning.

Well, enough typing for tonight, I think my carpal tunnel needs a break. I will try to post a little tag in the side bar later to show off my NanoWriMo winner status. I did have fun doing it and I am happy I was successful my first try through. I wanted to participate for the last two years but various things have kept me from it, one of which was the AT so no complaints there. I am glad things came together for me this year and I hope I can get something useful out of the drivel I wrote. I might try to post some of it on my writing blog sometime as I haven't updated that blog is forever, but I am not sure I really want to inflict it on anyone.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

My poor body

Woke up today regretting all that lifting and assembling. My hands hurt, my back hurts and my legs hurt. On a good note, my knees feel fine and I was actually squatting a few times and kneeling. Today was supposed to be more unpacking and rest. I ended up going to the auto store to get tools to replace the brakes. I also hit the grocery store then the home hardware for sandpaper. I impulse bought a Rosemary plant.

The brakes actually took a long time to do, one hour from set up to clean up, but went remarkable smoothly. I think most of that had to do with the large powerbar I got to remove the lug bolts. The calipers didn't want to open up at first. I forgot to pick up a very big screw driver to pry with so I had to be careful with my tiny one. After getting the brakes off, I realised this side should have been changed at the same time as the other side. The shoes on this side fell apart too. I finally managed to open up the calipers enough to get both new pads. Getting the pads in was not easy and I had to watch the brake line too. After that I regreased the pins and closed everything up. I gave the car a test spin and they sound a little rough but that should go away soon. One of the guys at the auto store was impressed I was doing car work. As I type this, I still have grease and grime ground into my hands. I had fun. I think I need a pair of work gloves though, my hands were so black that I had to use a little grease to clean them up a little. I will try the inspection again tomorrow and hopefully I can then get licensed and registered. I really need a parking permit.

The kitchen is mostly unpacked. I made some chili for supper while I fixed the brakes then I had to track down the box of spices. I think I have one kitchen box left and that has the shot glasses and booze in it. No idea where to put it for now so I think I will leave it. I will start working on my desk next. I do wish I could find my little tool box. I remember having it in the car but after that I don't remember where it went. I thought I had brought it into the apartment but I can't find it. It had my desk screws in it. I am sure it will turn up. The desk will not fall apart without the screws but it is annoying.

Another down point to my day, I stopped off at work on my brake spin to pick up my plants. I decided to take the lab cart to cart them down to the car. So I piled them on and got them down to the curb. Grabbed some pots and put them in the car then I heard a crashing noise. The cart took a nose dive of the curb and my basil was smashed beyond hope. My Norfolk pines were also on the cart but they survived the fall even if the pot didn't. I picked up the shards, put the pines in a plastic bag and the dirt in another bag then put the cart back in the lab. I will have to go back to the home depot to get another pot. I was going to pick one up as it had out grown the one it was in but I decided to wait. Oh well. At least it appears to be okay. I would have felt much worse if I had killed it after all that.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

My poor car

My car has really not been through that much. Other than the fact that I keep moving farther from home and have to drive longer to get there, it has been holding up very well. It has also passed at least four inspections in the last two years. So, off I go to what appears to be the only insection station in DC for yet another insection. They took the car and honked the horn, checked the lights and flashers, checked the emissions, then the brakes. Everything was good up until the brakes. I failed the inspection because my right brakes were closing more then the left brakes. What this boiled down to was that when my father and I had worked on the car, okay, I watched but anyway, we had greased the caliper pins on both sides but only replaced the brakes on the driver side. NEedless to say, the inspection people did not like this. So I have to change the brakes on teh passenger side and bring the car back. Fun.

I figured while I was out getting lost in DC, I would go to IKEA. I didn't really get lost but I did end up in Virginia by accident and had to take an alternate way back to the apartment. I got to IKEA and after wandering up and down the many aisles I began to wonder if IKEA stores also come in a box with some assembly required. The store layout was very similar to the one in Boston. I found the item I wanted and checked it out. It was a kitchen island. I pushed at it and opened the drawers. It was nice. I noted where it was located in teh warehouse and off I went to find it. I picked up a cart and walked over to the pallet to discover that there were no more. It just was not my day. I walked over to the booth and waited in line to ask what my options were. Then everything turned around. They had one on a cart right behind the desk. Yay! Paid for it, got some cinnmon buns and off to the car. I put the seats down and managed to get two of the three boxes in the car. Yes three boxes. This thing is huge. I went to lift the third box only to discover two things, one it was wedged into the cart and two, it was really, really heavy. There was no way I could lift it especially if it is wedged in at an awkward angle. Luckily some kind soul came by and helped me. I ended up breaking into the boxes and carrying in each piece one at a time. It was a little difficult to assemble solo, but I did it. I also managed to put my huge dining room table back together by myself. I did have the help of two barstools. I set the table top on the bar stools and assembled in the air. I did manage to bash my thumb really good but I now have a table to eat and work off of.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lack of internet

Sorry for the lack of updates lately, I have been trying to keep writing entries but i have not always had internet. When I do have internet, I suddenly find myself wasting time is other ways and forget to update my blog. I am now sitting in my apartment surrounded my a ton of boxes and sponging of someone else's really weak wifi signal. At least it is a start. So my updates are complete. I have also set up my bed and found the linens for it. I have mostly arranged the room in a reasonable layout. The bedroom is actually quite large and I have more than enough room to fit my bed, desk, dreser, chests, a bookshelf and even my bike. By putting my desk in teh bedroom, I am hopping this leaves me a little more flexibility with how to set up the livingroom, especially with my really large diningroom table. I am thinking it is a good thing that I don't have anything in the way of furniture for a livingroom. Although I miss the really old, brown loveseat. I think this weekend is a big unpakcing weekend. I am still trying to decide if I want to keep the aquariums or sell them. I couldn't make up my mind before and I still can't make it up now. I shoudl chose either making beer or having fish but not do both.

Heat and hot water are included in the apartment. I think the management picks a day and turns on the heat. As it is hot water radiators, once it is on, they leave it on all winter. So since I have been in the apartment, the weather has been very nice. Unfortunately, it is like a sauna in the apartment. I have most of the windows open but I woke up really hot this morning. So, to duvet, or not to duvet, that is the question. I put the bed near the window which also has the radiator under it. I am hoping most of the heat escapes out the window and I sleep comfortably. It has also cooled off with the rain. What a day to move in, there was some rather torrential rainfall earlier this morning and some of it while they were unloading. I am off to bed, I am hoping to get up early tomorrow and get the car inspected at the one inspection station then get licensed and all the associated car stuff. Knowing me, I will just sleep in then dash off to work. Saturday might be a better day to get everything done but then everyone else is probably thinking that too.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I got paid, finally!!

I finally received a paycheck today. The fun part will be trying to figure out how to deposit the cheque at my bank whick only has two branches. I think it might be time to open another bank account. I will have to check out the local banks. I hope I will not be set back by changing banks. I might keep my old account open until I can get another credit card from the new bank. So in the meantime, I have a paycheck in my wallet and the bank funds are going down. On the up side, I am paid biweekly while the postdocs are paid monthly. Hopefully they will get that first paycheck, otherwise I think I will have to talk with the supervisor about getting them a pay advance so they can get money. They are not in good shape after having to spend out of pocket for this move. The reimbursements will lso take a while to process and they will only receive that as part of their paycheck. I am sure they will be happy when they get switched over to research instructor. More benefits and I think they will get biweekly pay.

Monday, November 06, 2006

So many horrible apartments

I spent the weekend looking at a lot of really tiny or very shabby apartments. Most of the ads were really reaching in their descriptions. I also decided to broaded my search area. I was looking in Columbia height and Adams Morgan. Adams Morgan would be a nice place to live except the apartments are either really expensive or they are really crappy basements with almost no windows. Columbia Heights is near the wrong Metro stop so I would have to travel far by Metro to get to work and the Metro charges by distance. I also didn't really like the neighbourhood that much. Everything seemed a little rundown and neglected. I guess after seeing Georgetown and area, I am a little jaded. So I will keep looking. In the meantime I found a sublet that is good for 5 weeks and I am paying weekly so I can leave whenever. The people are very nice and the complex is huge. I will be leavig the car at my cow-orkers place until I find a palce with parking or get a parking pass. There is no parking at the sublet.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Still no apartment

This is really starting to suck. All my stuff is in storage at some place I likely have no access to. I am living in limbo and can't fill out change of address forms as the UPSP will not do a change of address to a dedicated zipcode. I have no idea if my roommate found someone as he is being a black hole right now, which is a good thing. Life could be better, but I guess it could be worse with me not having a job and having to go back to Canada and having similar problems.

On a good note, the lab is mostly unpacked with the satelite lab being stocks in boxes and the postdocs having a few boxes of their own to deal with. I am still trying to get the lab designated for work. The lady who is in charge of getting the ball rolling has not started many things that we need to have done. She is new to the job but she wrongly assumed we were not ready to start working yet. Little does she know the work drive of one of our postdocs who will not let a lab designation issue stop him from working.

I went to another open house tonight and again there was another application in pending approval. I think I have to just call ahead instead of waiting for the open house. Apparently someone else is doing just that. This will likely be the second time I have a nice apartment snatched out form under my nose. I was even the first person to the open house both times to prevent just this from happening. Although this place was not nearly as nice as the first place I missed out on, it was close to work, had 2 bedrooms, hardwood floors, yard access for kayak storage, and unfortunately coin-op but I guess I could have lived with that until I could save up for a little apartment washer/dryer. There was a sign on the lawn across the street for a 1 bedroom in the same area so maybe it is a similar setup and still available. I will call them tomorrow and find out.